Lawrence Lorraine Mullen

the cost of being trans

 

i.

 

finding a trans therapist to write you a letter stipulating that you are indeed as you say you are, is harder than you may think, but if they can be located, know that they’ll laugh at all your jokes about cis people & danny phantom

 

ii.

 

third grade you begging your parents to let you shave your hair so you can look like the androgynous person you saw in a 90s internet ad is persistent well documented gender dysphoria

 

iii.

 

top surgery is performed by a special surgeon who uses gold plated scissors with “titty” scrawled on them in cursive and just cuts them off in one effective snip–it’s so expensive because they have to get new $8,000 scissors every time

 

iv.

 

when calculating the cost of a legal name change, it’s important to include the court filing fees, as well as any potential lawyer fees (if you aren’t self filing)–you should also take into account the amount of alcohol you plan on stress-drinking (i’d recommend large quantities of any $7 wine)

 

v.

 

oh wait i forgot to mention that with your new legal name you’ll of course need new legal documents–that’ll be $27 for your birth certificate, $110 for your passport, $27 something and change for your license, but thankfully social security is free (savor the only free thing the federal government is mandated to do for you)

 

vi.

 

a medium iced coffee at dunkin donuts may only be $2.91 but the local coffee place down the street that has the exact same thing also has at least one trans barista working there so think of the extra dollar you’ll spend as the tax of camaraderie and mutual respect

 

vii.

 

you at first may think you aren’t enunciating your masculine sounding name clearly enough but after the upteenth time, you’ll realize it’s not you, it’s just that americans are gold medal olympians in mental gymnastics and your feminine sounding voice is their springboard

 

viii.

 

no one expects you to have all this money so you’ve got quite a few options; occasionally your insurance might do their job and insure you, sometimes surgeons might look at you pitifully and offer a for-six-easy-payments deal, and when all else fails there’s always gofundme because why not crowdsource your body (it’s more of a “masterpiece” than any mediocre man’s sorry excuse of a novel & he got a few thousand)

 

ix.

 

your birth state may continue to hold your birth certificate hostage because it’s oh-so-easy to get that oh-so-easily obtained court decree amended, say the cis woman (who continually thought your first name was your last name because who has [insert masculine sounding name] as a first name anyway) on the other end of the phone

 

x.

 

and before you do any of that, before you even open your mouth to question your body, before your body begs questioning at all, when the only thing that’s rooted itself inside you is that your constant uncomfortableness may not just be a you thing, that rooting itself inside you is the feeling of comparing jaw bones and cheekbones to see where yours have places to sharpen, consider consider, what will happen once you’ve got a diagnostic code (19301 or 58150 or 55980) tattooed on the nape of your neck, consider consider, if it’s worth swallowing that rooted feeling whole

 


Lawrence Lorraine Mullen is a non-binary Philadelphia poet and academic (focusing on Gothic literature) pursing an MFA in Poetry & MA in English at Arcadia University. They have been published in Pomona Valley Review, GTK Creative, Spiral Bookcase Poetry Zine, and The Rusty Nail.


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